about the anna.k lenormand's

Table of contents

1. My deck's history
2. About the artwork


An averse beginning: My first encounter with Tarot at the age of 13 was love at first sight. I felt a deep connection with many of the images, and almost all the meanings, immediately. For I could see how comprehensively they addressed all the manifold experiences of my life - the small, mundane ones, as well as the big, profound ones. And I began creating my own Tarot set shortly after. My first encounter with Lenormand, over a decade later, was completely different. I felt a stale disconnection with both the images and the meanings. The images were very formal, quite stiff, the symbols didn't seem evocative at all, and what was worst for me: the interpretations I found seemed very superficial, were full of stereotyped thinking, of cliches. So after this unsatisfactory first impression I put my Lenormand deck and instructions away, believing the parting to be a final one.

An intrigueing discovery: Several years later (in 2013, I believe), I found myself in a creative lull. For want of a better idea, I took my collection of the Lenormand cards' descriptions out again, just for the fun of it picked the one I felt was most full of cliches, and started sketching: the Snake. To my complete surprise, as soon as I started sketching the Snake began taking on momentous shape - both visually and regarding the meaning. Watching the image of a Snake emerge somehow opened my mind to a whole range of potential meanings, and this expanded range of meanings then made me adapt the image - and the adapted image then inspired an even more in-depth interpretation, and so on. I began to to see that even though the meanings of Lenormand cards certainly seemed superficial, flat, at first, there was in fact a much deeper symbolism to be discovered behind the cliches - at least for someone who wished to do so. I was so intrigued with my continuing discoveries of hidden depths that by the third card I painted I knew with absolute certainty that I would follow this unexpected journey to its end.

A long process: In the end, painting my 40 Lenormand cards, and writing the texts, took me much longer than I had originally anticipated. This was partly because I made several versions for many of the cards. For often, once I'd finished one version, and spent some time on the next card, I would begin to feel dissatisfied with the first version, and start all over again (and sometimes again). But it is mostly because with some of the cards it took me months to even develop a concept. This is why, when only about a fifth of them were left to do, I kept getting stuck in painter's blocks in which I wasn't able to even sketch for many months at a time. All in all, from the point I began working on the Snake to finishing my last card, the Wild Card, three and a half years passed.

Still ongoing: Now, as I'm writing this, the cards are all finished, and the interpretations too. I have started to design the little booklet that is going to come with the deck, and I will soon start talking with the printers about the available options regarding cardstock, size, box etc. My estimate is that I will be able to go to print some time between July and September 2017. And yes, I will definitely self-publish!

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The original paintings are roughly 12 * 18 cm large and are painted on thin, smooth sketch paper with high quality coloured pencil, Polichromos by Faber Castell. These pencils are a bit more oily than ordinary pencils, which allows applying several layers. (If you want to give pencils a chance as serious painting tools, I recommend using a glass sheet or smooth stone slab as support pad - else you'll quickly wear the paper through.) The original paintings were then scanned and revised digitally.
The realistic style of my cards, coupled with some mystic elements, is owed to my love of human nature, animal nature, and nature in general. In a way, I've always seen myself less as an artist and more as an illustrator - I love telling stories with images. Hopefully, you will be able to make a good guess at a card's approximate meaning just by looking at the image - even before you've consulted my instructions.

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